MAE JULIAN

It was 3am, and cold.‑ I was hoping that the night would stay relatively uneventful.‑ I remember how tired I felt, wishing the night shift would pass quickly.‑ Just thinking of my goose-down comforter at home made me anxious for the night to end.‑ Dispatch cut into my thoughts with an urgent, but brief, clip:

“Med 33…” I heard Tick’s voice coming from the radio. I reached over, and picked up the mike. “Med 33,” I responded.” Tick dispatched evenly, “Make I-65 and Brook Street. Car verses pedestrian. Run #2002.‑ Make that code 3.”‑ “10-4”, I returned. “I hit the siren and flipped the switch under the dash bringing the overheads on. The flashing lights illuminated the night as I accelerated towards the nearest entrance ramp to I-65. It was icy, cold, and dangerous. Due to the inclement weather, we, my partner and I, should have been about six minutes out, but the road conditions were horrible. The run would probably take nine. Tick came on the radio‑ “Med 33, be advised, subject critical. Continue on a 3.” I mentally prepared for the trauma. The checklist in my mind, as a critical care nurse, was abbreviated to: “Pack and go.”

As we approached the scene, Louisville police department had several cars already on the scene. Had it not been for the nature of the run, it would have been beautiful with the snow falling into the colored flashing lights. I braked, coming to a sliding, sideway stop. I threw the gear into park, killed the siren, and left the engine running.‑ My partner and I grabbed our jump kits and exited the ambulance. My partner slid, caught herself, then proceeded.‑ I saw the victim face down in the street. The angulation of her small body told me that she was already 10-80, although the first officer I encountered advised me that she was still breathing. As I approached her body, she was lying prone, with her legs angulated grotesquely. Her head was lying with the left part of her face exposed.‑ I saw a large pool of blood spreading in circumference under her head and shoulders.‑ I shone a penlight into her eyes to reveal pupils that were fixed and dilated.‑ As I knelt beside her and placed my fingers on her neck to feel for a carotid pulse, it was only for verification.‑ I knew she was dead.‑‑ Then, I realized why the officers believed her to be alive.‑ Her final exhalations, as life left her body, created hundreds of small bubbles, which were breaking in the blood in the cold night air. “Little child,” I breathed. I motioned for my partner to bring a sheet from the unit.‑ I took the faded orange sheet and covered her, the wind picking up the edges and displaying her broken body.‑ Her shoes remained where they were when the car hit her.‑ It is possible to physically feel sorrow, I believe, for indeed, my insides felt a tangible grief.‑ I reminded myself, then, to consider other possible victims.‑ I asked the officer closest to me if the driver of the vehicle that hit her was at the scene.‑ He then gestured to a car pulled to the side of the road.‑ There, sitting in the driver’s seat, with his feet on the ground, was an African American man who was perhaps sixty years old. His head was almost to his knees, his palms were pressed to his face. He sat paralyzed in stunned silence.‑ I walked over to him and put my hand on his shoulder, which brought no response.‑ “Are you injured?” I asked quietly. He did not respond but continued to stare through his hands at the pavement.‑ I knelt down and put my hand on this thigh. “I know this is horrible for you, but I need to ask you a few questions.” He then slowly looked up at me, his eyes so vacant that he seemed dead, himself. I asked him if he could tell me what happened.‑ He was silent for so long that I repeated the question.‑ “I don’t know,” he managed, “I was just driving and I don’t know what happened.‑ I don’t know where she came from. She was just there.‑ I tried to stop, but she was just right there.”‑ His face then became distorted, his breathing came in shudders, and sounds of agony coming from the depths of his soul. What he uttered were not cries or screams.‑ They were the deep guttural sounds of anguish.‑ I touched his face, and then returned to the child.‑ I knelt beside her.‑ It was as if I could not leave her to lay in the cold there, alone. Just a child, I thought, just a child.‑ I stayed with her for about a half hour whilst the officers took measurement, photographs, documented, talked to us, conferred amongst‑themselves, and to LPD dispatch.‑ A coroner was called to the scene. Routine.

I dreaded the notification.‑ As a parent I could only begin to envision a call like that in the middle of the night.‑ My God. I was later to find that she was a “throw-away” child.‑ She had been living with foster parents, because her natural parents would not accept her. I wondered, then, why no other family members were willing to take her.‑ Of course, so many questions in my mind went unanswered.‑ Later, I ran into an LPD officer who had made the run with us that night. He told me that the parents “let her go” into foster care because they couldn’t live with the “choices” she had made for herself. It was then that I first learned what I would later understand to be known as a transgendered child. For, the teenager I saw at the scene was not a girl at all, but a boy.‑ It was not the car that had killed her.‑ It was rejection by our society. We, as a society in America, do not tolerate uncomfortable differences.‑ Death, sadly, becomes the only answer to approximately 35% to 50% of transgendered children.

 

Mae Julian

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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